Some would say the future is here. And if you’ve used virtual reality headsets to play video games or, say, virtually explore a rainforest, you’ll know what we’re talking about. If you haven’t, read on. Because soon, home buyers might be able to put on a virtual reality headset and feel like they are touring a home, walking from room to room, and getting a feel for the place without ever leaving their Realtor’s® office.
This means that if you are a buyer, you could “look at” a place in another part of your city, in another state, or even country. If you are a seller, buyers can tour your house no matter where they are standing.
Many Realtors involved in the luxury home markets already have been experimenting with and using VR gear to show multi-million dollar properties. As brokers get a feel for and become comfortable with the technology, and the cost comes down, many expect virtual reality home tours to become—a reality—for all housing markets.
Virtual reality technology allows users see in 3-D, which means they can look up, down, side to side. This enables them to see for themselves that the kitchen is spacious, the flooring is perfect, the fixtures are updated, the paint colors are what they want, and the outdoor living space with a fire pit and covered patio is large enough for entertaining, but easy to maintain. VR gives the feeling of actually being in the location.
While the buyers are looking at a property through the VR headset, the Realtor has the ability to look with them, addressing concerns and questions, such as counter materials or plumbing updates, just as you would on a home tour.
The time-saving potential is enormous, making the process of looking for or selling a house easier and much faster. Buyers could come into a real estate agent’s office, view available homes on the headset and narrow it down to two or three they might want to see in person.
According to Realtor Magazine, also on the horizon will be the ability to enter into the VR gear criteria such as location, price and size of home, and then you can tour the homes that come up through the search on your headset.
So, it seems VR is gradually entering real estate as we all start to understand better what the technology is all about. With consumers gravitating to VR over the next few years, headsets could become must-have devices.
But until costs come down, 360-degree property tours using VR will likely remain in the luxury home market. Eventually the technology will be more widely accessible. One day you might be able to view 20 homes from your Realtor’s office in an afternoon using a VR headset. And out-of-town and international buyers could view properties without having to get on a plane.
You can check out Fortune.com for more insights and predictions on how virtual reality may change the real estate landscape of the (near) future.